Beauty from the wreckage: Designs sought for 9/11 memorial

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SIERRA VISTA — The Sierra Vista Fire Department is looking to the community to design a memorial honoring those that lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 that will house a piece of the World Trade Center recovered from the wreckage.

The deadline for registering for the competition, which is open to all residents of the county who are 15 years old and older, is May 30, while designs must be submitted prior to June 20.

The memorial will be incorporated into the Maltese Cross layout on the south side of Fire Station 263 on Giulio Cesare Avenue.

The centerpiece of the memorial will be a 72-pound piece of I-beam recovered from the World Trade Center after the attacks.

Some time after Sept. 11, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey began giving away these pieces of steel to fire departments across the country, said Sierra Vista Firefighter/Paramedic Jeremy Baker.

“They just took requests, and part of the request was that they would give you the steel, but you have to utilize it in a way that everyone can come and see it,” Baker said.

After learning about this following last year’s Sept. 11 memorial ceremony, Baker said he reached out to the port authority, only to find that they had apparently
discontinued the practice some time ago.

On the off chance that they would reconsider, Baker contacted the port authority once more, asking if a piece had ever been reserved for the Sierra Vista Fire Department.

Lo and behold, there was.

“Somebody, we don’t know who, did the paperwork a couple of years ago,” requesting a piece of steel, he said.

For some unknown reason, the exchange was never completed, but the piece of I-beam has been sitting on the other side of the country until now.

Now, the fire department is looking to honor their end of the bargain by reaching out to the community for designs for an “appropriate, meaningful and timeless Memorial for those who lost their lives during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,” as stated in the competition guidelines.

The criteria for the memorial are few, beyond its location.

“The memorial should be recognizable as a memorial and appropriate to the dignity of the event and appropriate to the City of Sierra Vista,” the guidelines read.

Those who successfully register by picking up and completing an entry form at any of the Sierra Vista fire stations must submit their designs on a single sheet of paper, the size of which can vary. But it must be printed using an appropriate design software for this kind of design. Each entry must clearly bear the title SVFD World Trade Center Steel Memorial Competition.

For a full set of rules and guidelines, see the .pdf file on the fire department’s website by going to, clicking on Fire Department under the Government tab, and scrolling to the bottom of the page. Under More Information is the link to the rules and entry application.

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